There is always some sort of inspiration behind every character a writer creates. Sometimes it’s pictures we see, sometimes it’s someone we’ve met, someone we’ve seen, or someone we know well. Oftentimes, a writer ends up with little pieces of themselves in every character they create. It’s happened to me quite a few times, almost every single one of my main characters has a little bit of me. Some more than others, but they all have a piece. So today we’re going to talk about a few of my favorite characters and who they were based on.
Let’s start with Penelope Sawyer, the main character in the Bluebird Chronicles. She’s got a lot of me in her. In fact, the small island in Italy where she was stationed at the beginning of her time in the Navy, I was stationed there. They say to write what you know, so I do that. A lot. Penelope goes through losses similar to some that I have faced in the previous few years, though that particular plot point has been there since 2009, I never imagined that it would follow my life as closely as it did, and I don’t know how to feel about that. Penelope’s job, the business she’s trying so hard to create, that has nothing to do with me. That was inspired by my very first editor on Blood Song, Erika. I needed to do something different with what Penelope did for a living during one of the rewrites and I just kind of decided to honor Erika that way. She has no idea so I can’t wait for her to find out.
Then there’s Penelope’s best friend Bailey Stills-Parker. Bailey has parts of a lot of different people. Some of which I no longer have contact with. Bailey, however, remains an amalgamation of the best friends that I’ve had since I started this book. Her most recent incarnation has mostly parts of my best bish/cousin Steph. Callie and Nora are also the same kind of amalgamations of other friends as well. I love that I can look at them and know that I have immortalized them in some way, even if I’m the only one who ever knows exactly which parts belong to who.
Then there’s Micah Parker. Mike is the big brother I never had, but based on my little brother Damien. Mike’s boyfriend, based exclusively on my brother-in-law Jason, who passed a few years ago. I promised him I’d put him in my books somewhere, so Trey was my promise kept. The biggest difference between them, Trey is gay and my brother wasn’t.
There’s other things too. The house that Penelope’s parent’s live in? It’s based on the house I grew up in. Certain birthdays belong to people I know. My children, my nieces and nephews, my grandson, all of them have some piece of a character somewhere. Whether it’s a shared birthday, a shared middle name, or a similar look. I love my family, and I want them to know that when they read my books (when they’re old enough). I only have two adult children (one turned 18 this week!) the rest are between 13-17, with the next round of birthdays happening in February. It’s the little things that make creating as many characters as I have to, seem more real. I give them a detail from someone I know.
Reid isn’t actually based on anyone I know. Originally, in the VERY first version of Blood Song, he wasn’t even my character, and his name was Christian King. I was writing with a friend and our stories happened to cross over here and there. Her’s was focused on my main characters best friend. Or maybe it should be the other way around since she started writing first and it’s what inspired me to get my pen back to paper. Either way, there was crossover with the main characters. Well, eventually we realized the stories were going in two very different directions that weren’t going to mesh well for what we were doing so we split the stories and created new characters. I took mine back, she did the same. Only, Christian wouldn’t do anything for her. Nothing. Wouldn’t speak to her, she had so much trouble writing for him after months of me writing for him. So, when I moved to California, she gifted Christian to me to do with as I pleased and she replaced him with another character (who I actually love just as much). When I started changing names of characters for the original draft of THIS version, I wanted to honor his roots, so Christian King became Christian Reid Walker, Prince of Paris. Though, so not to confuse myself with who I was writing, I called him Reid. It worked and she absolutely loves everything he’s become.
There is a little of almost everyone I know in a character somewhere. Sometimes it’s just easier with the tertiary and smaller secondary characters to do that. Saves me time and energy trying to flush out a character. Or at least that’s what I tell myself, though I always seem to end up tweaking them just a little bit. My inspiration comes from everywhere. I have based characters on other fictional characters, like Tucker Clark in It Could Be Monsters is based on Dean Winchester, probably because that story started as a Supernatural Fanfic. I’ve done that before too, with several stories and I have since all the way back in my sophomore year when I started writing “the secret” that you guys will probably never read.
Well, that’s it for me today. See you all tomorrow for a book review! I know how much you like those. Hahaha. As always, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow. Love ya!